Discovering Joy Despite My Circumstances
Part 2: Embracing Joy During Adversity
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Recall a time in your life or someone close to you where good came from adversity. During your adversity what do you see?
Apostle Paul chose joy during his adversity.
Philippians 4:4 NLT
Always be full of joy in the Lord.
And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear.
It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure
motives. They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News. Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish
ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me. But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice. For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance.
For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.
Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith. And when I come to you again, you will have even more reason to take pride in Christ Jesus because of what he is doing through me.
How we can learn from Paul whom chose joy over bitterness during his adversity
Jesus Christ first (vv.12-21)
Paul could have easily embraced bitterness for the various adversities he had experienced:
2 Corinthians 11: beatings, betrayals, imprisonment, shipwrecks, stoning, hunger, etc.
|Current circumstance:||Self focused||Christ focused|
|Prisoner of Rome||Prisoner of Christ|
|Chained to the Praetorian Guard||Chained to souls for whom Christ died|
|Prevented from preaching||Opportunity to spread the gospel: captive audience|
- Chains became bonds in Christ
- Enemies causing trouble by selfish preaching became satisfaction in Christ being preached
- Fear of facing death became joy in magnifying Christ by life or death
When we take Christ into every circumstance we will experience joy. Christ followers do not allow adversity to overcome them; they turn adversity into opportunities to magnify Christ and win souls.
Others second (vv. 22-26)
- Selfishness always breeds unhappiness
- Paul experienced joy as he loved others, prayed for others, encouraged others and sought to bring joy to others
- Desired to be with Jesus Christ but also desired to help others to grow in their faith
- Paul’s body was not his own; his future was not his own; his reputation was not his own
The more we surrender to Christ the greater our joy: “Lord whatever comes, I want Christ to be glorified.”